UChicago Researcher Jun Nishida Creates HandMorph, a Wearable Exoskeleton

UChicago Researcher Jun Nishida Creates HandMorph, a Wearable Exoskeleton

HandMorph, a wearable exoskeleton for adults that simulates a toddler’s hand, is the newest challenge of College of Chicago laptop science postdoctoral fellow Jun Nishida, who investigates human-computer interactions by creating novel gadgets that change human notion.

The gadget is a wearable passive exoskeleton with no electronics. The person places it on like a glove. Within the palm of the glove is a smaller rubber hand in a skeleton of linkages that translate the person’s finger actions into actions of the rubber hand’s fingers. The person can then “pilot” the smaller hand as if it have been their very own.

HandMorph follows Nishida’s earlier challenge, a wearable headset that enables the person to expertise sight from the peak of a kid. In an interview with The Maroon, Nishida stated that the aim of each initiatives is to research human notion. To date, his experiments have revealed that altering a person’s visible perspective adjustments their notion of their very own peak and that altering a person’s grasp capability adjustments their notion of dimension. By altering the sensory inputs of designers—resembling product designers, architects, and person interface engineers—Nishida hopes to extend the diploma to which they will perceive the experiences of a kid.

“The primary contribution of my analysis is interplay design reasonably than new engineering methods,” Nishida stated. “Making an exoskeleton is form of new engineering, however extra necessary is learn how to use these methods.”

In an experiment utilizing HandMorph, individuals have been given a toy trumpet designed for kids and challenged to enhance its design. To help in that course of, every participant was given a HandMorph gadget and a truth sheet containing measurements of a median baby’s hand. The examine discovered that designers who primarily used HandMorph have been each extra assured and higher in a position to produce designs with fewer flaws.

Creating HandMorph offered cross-disciplinary challenges. “That is a pc science challenge, nevertheless it’s about altering [the] sensory and bodily capabilities of our our bodies. We needed to know what occurs in our cognition, so I’ve to work usually with psychologists,” Nishida stated. He additionally needed to analyze bodily kinematics—the physics of how the physique strikes—when creating the exoskeleton and make use of movement seize to map finger motions. In creating HandMorph, Nishida labored with psychologists and neuroscientists at UChicago. The paper based mostly on HandMorph won the Finest Paper award on the 2020 Affiliation for Computing Equipment (ACM) Symposium on Consumer Interface Software program and Know-how (UIST) in October.

Nishida hoped to make HandMorph a tool that may permit folks to straight expertise the sensations of others. “It’s a really human-centric design strategy. The wearers ought to really feel that these controls are a part of their physique,” he stated.

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